The year 2020 will go down in history not only as a year of adversity but also one that witnessed the indomitable human spirit to find a cure, while simultaneously battling COVID-19. Today, India is witnessing fewer cases, given the standardized treatment protocols, progressing vaccination drive and effective containment measures. Free vaccination for all eligible persons will pave the way for a corona-free India soon.
Some of the Western Region (WR) states have been worst hit by COVID-19 but they have been able to successfully contain the pandemic by implementing suitable strategies. It is my pleasure to share that the ‘Maharashtra Model’ of pandemic management has been widely appreciated nation-wide. As on 12 June 2021, 48.1 million beneficiaries were vaccinated in the WR states, with Maharashtra and Gujarat constituting nearly 75%.
While engaging with Members, CII WR will align its interventions with the CII theme for 2021-22: Building India for a New World, focusing on Growth, Competitiveness, Sustainability and Technology. 2020 also exposed the fragility of global supply chains and prompted many companies to rethink their strategies.
CII’s efforts in the region will be aimed at enabling Members’ integration into global value chains. On the policy advocacy front, CII WR is extremely well connected with all the state governments and is the first port of call for matters concerning the Industry and community. CII has representation on 47 Government Task Forces and Committees across the WR states.
CII WR is extremely thankful to Members for rising to this occasion and extending their generous support in the fight against COVID-19. Besides representing Industry on WR state governments’ COVID-19 task forces, CII WR, with support from Members, will continue to work on strengthening health infrastructure. Work is underway on facilitating vaccination for Members’ employees and their families. The Tele-ICU project treating critically ill patients in remote villages will be scaled up further. Skilling in healthcare, promoting start-ups and technology integration in healthcare are the priority areas for the region.
To promote competitiveness of Members, especially MSMEs, various platforms like the CTO Forum, Plant Head Forum, webinars, workshops and training programmes will be utilized. The region will work with the CII Centres of Excellence (including the CoEs focused on competitiveness for MSMEs and manufacturing excellence) to enhance competitiveness. The CII Intellectual Property Facilitation Centres (Madhya Pradesh & Gujarat) will work with MSMEs, technopreneurs, start-ups and individual innovators to protect their intellectual properties. Awards, clusters and competitions will continue to be organized to enhance quality consciousness among Members. Building capacity in ESG is also a focus area.
To promote business and entrepreneurship development, CII will facilitate Buyer-Seller Meets across sectors in the region to connect the large corporate houses (including PSUs) with MSMEs. Interventions to connect the Industry and start-ups will be facilitated to explore opportunities for collaboration.
On the sustainability front, the region will organize interventions around green manufacturing, green buildings, clean air, circular economy, renewable energy, restoration/cleaning water bodies, green mobility, EV infrastructure, climate change, energy conservation and industrial safety.
CII has successfully transformed drought-prone villages in Maharashtra to drought-proof, impacting thousands of lives. This project will be expanded to more villages.
Through CII’s eight global offices and even beyond, international linkages will be facilitated by identifying collaborative opportunities with country partners to attract investments in relevant sectors. Besides supporting Members on export/import-related issues, the widely appreciated International Connect Series will continue to facilitate Members.
In the skilling space, CII through its nine Model Career Centres spread across WR states will provide career guidance, training and counseling services to make youth employable. The CII Skill Training Centre in Madhya Pradesh will also facilitate underprivileged youth in this direction.
While COVID-19 is here to stay for some more time, maintaining the delicate balance between lives and livelihoods is going to be a tough challenge. I request Members to give utmost priority to safe working practices as they operate to keep the wheels of the economy running.
I urge Members for their active participation and support in the plethora of initiatives and platforms that CII WR has to offer for the benefit of the Industry in the coming year.
The article by Mr B Thiagarajan, Chairman, CII Western Region and Managing Director, Blue Star Ltd first appeared in the June 2021 issue of CII Communique. Click here to read the issue.